29 Apr 2011

Government wants farmer views on biodiversity policy

1:09 pm on 29 April 2011

The Government and Environment Ministry say they'll listen to farmer concerns about a proposed new biodiversity policy.

The ministry has released a draft policy statement on managing native biodiversity on private land.

Sone farmers on the North Island east coast and in Taranaki say it would would require councils to monitor farmers and other landowners and would stop them clearing regenerating native scrub, such as manuka and kanuka.

Federated Farmers says that could force some farmers of the land, and it's opposing the policy in its current form.

Environment Ministry policy director Mark Sowden feels the policy has struck the right balance between biodiversity and farming objectives.

He says the ministry is interested to hear how farmers and other groups think the plans will play out so their views can be factored into final decision-making.

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson says there should be enough flexibility in the policy to allow local councils and communities to decide how the expectations should be achieved.

"If the proposal is too extreme we'd obviously have to look at pegging it back a bit, but at this stage in the process it's still out to consultation.

"We'll be looking at the submissions and taking it from there," Ms Wilkinson said.